We celebrate all teachers, but it is even more special when we can celebrate a young teacher and coach that grew up in Gardendale and came back to teach at Bragg Middle School.
It’s a wonderful thing to have a young teacher and coach who puts God first counseling, teaching and coaching our middle school students on a daily basis.
Taylor believes that God led him to education. Gardendale and our kids are very fortunate that Taylor followed what his heart told him that God wanted him to do.
Treye Hanner: Tell us a little about you and how you decided to become a teacher?
Taylor Houchins: I have lived in Gardendale my entire life and graduated from Gardendale High School in 2010. I believe that God led me into education.
There was a time in my life where I was at a crossroads in my life, and God kept having my paths cross with important educators in my life. After a lot of prayer, I saw that as a sign to change majors and explore education as a career.
Treye Hanner: What is your favorite part of being a teacher?
Taylor Houchins: My favorite part of education is having the opportunity to build relationships with people from many different walks of life. Bragg is a very diverse school, and I am blessed with a student body that enjoys building positive relationships with their teachers.
I would say that we are a family at Bragg.
Treye Hanner: Are there special moments where you say to yourself, “this is why I teach?”
Taylor Houchins: There are definitely those moments, especially when students tell me how much they enjoyed what we read in class and ask for us to continue the series. It’s a lot easier to teach English when the students enjoy what we are reading.
Treye Hanner: What challenges have you experienced while having to teach through the pandemic?
Taylor Houchins: I will honestly say that teaching during the pandemic has been a double-edged sword. The shift to mostly online instruction has helped with organization on my end (I am admittedly not a very organized person), but the constant screen time is exhausting for the students and me.
It’s easy for students to be distracted while on the computers, which can greatly hinder instruction if not monitored constantly.
Treye Hanner: In addition to being a teacher, you also coach several sports. Tell us about the sports you coach and how being a coach has helped shape you as a teacher?
Taylor Houchins: I coach football and soccer at Bragg as well as wrestling at Bragg and GHS. I don’t necessarily know how coaching has helped shape me as an educator, but it has definitely shaped me as a person.
Coaching has given me a way to motivate many kids who otherwise may not care much about their education. I love seeing kids find their passion, and oftentimes that comes in the form of sports.
I firmly believe that there are many life lessons that can be taught through sports, whether they come through practices, wins, or losses.
Treye Hanner: What’s the one thing you would like people to know about teachers?
Taylor Houchins: I want people to know that teachers are trying. I know that there is a lot of frustration towards education, mostly due to pandemic related issues, but believe me when I say that we are truly trying.
We just ask for your support in these trying times. Let’s work together to get back on track.